Confessions; Life, Lately (Mostly Food).

Happy Saturday Friends!

Any exciting weekend plans? Farmer Ben and I are having some friends over for an evening of good food and games. I’m really looking forward to it!

Other than that, my back-to-school game is in full swing! Not gonna lie, I’ll be happy once my orientation class is over so I don’t have to log in every day. I probably still will… but I won’t be obligated to. That makes all the difference!

In other news, have you guys heard of EBATES? It’s stupidly easy. You sign up, download their button, and when you are on a site that gives cash back, it turns red. Once activated, you get money back! If you don’t want to download the button, you can go to the EBATES’ site and find what you’re looking for that way. I’ve gotten money back on a book for school, protein powder and a baby shower gift.

(Full Disclosure, if you sign up via the link above and make a purchase, I get $5. Thank you in advance!). 

I signed up about a month ago and I’ve already gotten $8.05 back from online purchases. My sister, on the other hand, got $26 back (I think she does more online shopping than I do). It doesn’t seem like it’s that much, but those few dollars here and there add up! You’ll either receive a check in the mail or you can have it go to your PayPal account.

Confession time… (Mostly Food)

  • Farmer Ben and I had pizza for dinner three times this week (Unless you count Sunday as last week, then it’s technically only 2 times). One of said pizzas was a “nacho pizza.” Yes, it was ridiculously good and I think I gained approximately 5 pounds.

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  • I am officially over summer squash and zucchini…we’ve been eating it SO MUCH and people keep giving us more! I’ve gotten creative, making a zucchini “lasagna,” and just eating it raw, dipped in hummus or dressing…and a few other ways… but there are only so many things you can do to squash. Sometime next week, we’ll have zucchini fritters and the elusive zucchini pizza crust (because clearly, we never get sick of pizza). Gulp…wish us luck!
  • I made these cupcakes with a few modifications, to use more zucchini up (and then my mom gave us 3 more). They were good but only required a cup… I may need to quadruple the recipe and freeze them!  Any suggestions for what else we should make?
  • I am really into snack plates (Always with radishes and cucumbers)… I think it’s becoming a problem…this was a recent work meeting.

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  • Farmer Ben and I have a problem with making everything boozey. The cupcakes I talked about earlier? I put Kahlua in them… And Farmer Ben? He made this…

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I can’t even.

  • I’ve been alternating between three pairs of running capris. I have other bottoms to wear, but they just aren’t as comfortable! I’ve been doing a lot of laundry the last few weeks.
  • Speaking of running… I’ve been eyeing different GPS Watches/Heart Rate Monitors… I’ve even gone as far as putting some in my online shopping cart… but I can’t convince myself to spend the money on them. Any suggestions on brand? I’m bouncing back and forth between Garmin and TomTom. Are they worth all the hype?
  • And sports bras. It’s time to cough up some cash for some new sports bras. Why is having boobs so darn expensive?!
  • Looking back over my last month of posts, I realize that I haven’t blogged about so many things…look for some major photo/catching up posts in the next week or two!

That’s all for today, Friends! Any confessions on your end? Let me know in the comments! 


Gross But Necessary: Two Weeks

Hello Friends!

You may have noticed that I didn’t post anything for GBN last week, so we are making up for it with two weeks of workouts today!  I started my online orientation class and I’ve had a ridiculous amount of meetings the last couple of weeks, AND Farmer Ben’s schedule has changed, which makes the morning run a bit trickier now… so there were many missed runs. Even though I am a bit frustrated by this, I realize that I just have to prioritize my time better. And, today is a new day!

Right?

Right.

Farmer Ben joined me on a couple of runs over these two weeks and I was absolutely ecstatic. There is something about running with the hubs that just makes it so much better…even if he is way faster than me!

That being said, my runs were … just okay last week. I don’t know if I was overtired or just bored, but pretty much every run was a struggle. Also, apparently last week was the week of meetings. Holy moly! I literally had some kind of meeting every day!

This week… I was sore. Like, I had a hard time bending over and putting pants on kind of sore…So, there’s that.

Anyway, here we go!

Gross But Necessary: August 23-September 5.

Sunday: So… I’ve decided to just go ahead and call Sundays a rest day.

Monday: No run. Instead of my usual forcing myself to run in the morning, I came into work early with the intention of running to a friend’s house after work for our usual dinner and small group. As I was about to literally run out the door, I got a phone call from someone who needed help. I was annoyed that I missed my run, but it was perfect timing and I was able to pray for this person AND practically help them…And honestly, that’s more important to me.

Tuesday: Short Night Run. I ended up going out in the evening with Farmer Ben for a little over 2 miles. This was after a taco dinner and a beer. Needless to say, this was extremely poor planning on my part and I didn’t feel too hot and it wasn’t pretty.

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Wednesday: I woke up at 5:00 am and got ready for a work conference just north of Albany (I was thrilled. Heh). We got back to town around 4:30 and I was incredibly car sick from the trip. After lounging around on the couch, Farmer Ben forced me to go out (God bless that man!). We did 3 miles and a cool down.

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Thursday: 4 Mile Morning (!) Run and a 1.5 Mile cool down. Knowing that I had a meeting on Thursday night, I set out to do five miles in the wee morning hours. And I tried. I got to 4 miles and decided to finish the loop as a cool down, so I alternated walking and running. This was a “meh” workout.

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Friday: I slept in that morning, went to work, had another meeting and marathon cleaned my house that evening, prepared for my monthly book club, cooked and baked until about 1:30 in the morning.  Does anyone else do this? I always pick really inconvenient times to decide to do the really OCD cleaning. Am I alone on this?

Saturday: I finished tidying up, did dog duty for friends who were out of town,w drove to a work luncheon, sped back to my house, frosted cupcakes for book club, hosted book club, second dog duty, had dinner with the hubby and took some chicken broth, soup and medicine to my mother who caught the black plague.

Sunday: See note above. Work, lunch with friends, work, delicious pizza with Farmer Ben celebrating the end of the week of meetings. Phew!

Monday: I can’t even lie, big fail; I didn’t drag my butt out of bed early enough…Then, instead of running in the evening, I started classes.

Tuesday: This workout from Erica House. I loved this workout…and I hated it. I love doing pushups and squats. I HATE lunges. Especially being as out of shape as I am…I’m still sore. Yesterday, I had trouble putting pants on! I know this means that I should probably do more lunges.

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Two notes: We actually did a 1/2 mile warmup and 1/4 mile cool down… We also did about .32 miles instead of 400 meters. Also, did you know that running on a soccer field is more challenging when it needs to be mowed (we did this at a field near our house)? True story.

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Wednesday: Um…I hurt all day. I had a lunch meeting and then ended up doing school work til late.

Thursday: Still in pain. I probably should have gone out and done something, but after work and homework, I really just wanted to spend some quality time with Farmer Ben…so that’s what I did.

Friday: Evening run. 3 miles, slow and easy.

Saturday: 5 miles with lots of hills.

Takeaways from the last two weeks?

I was very happy to get at least one good workout in this week after such a rough time the week before… I probably overdid it (or else I am just a major wuss) but I’m thinking that it was better for me to just start doing stuff like this, instead of waiting to “get back in shape.” If I wait for that, it’ll never happen. So, in spite of being sore, I am really glad that Farmer Ben and I did it and we will keep it in the rotation…it can only get easier, right?

Looking at my calendar, I really need to just go ahead and block out time for working out, otherwise, it won’t happen. Especially with schoolwork and all these meetings!

I’m also thinking that I need to sign up for a race… I unfortunately won’t be able to do the Ragnar Relay like I’d hoped, which means I haven’t done any races this year and have none coming up! That’s kind of depressing. Any race suggestions? They have to be Saturday races.

Happy Weekend, Friends!

Tell me, how are your workouts this week? Any Saturday race suggestions? 


“A List for Last Year,” A FINAL Update on 2013.

Oh hey! It’s officially 2014… I won’t get used to writing/typing 2014 until June…but it’s fine…

Anyway, I figured I should give you all one last look at how my 2013 goals were accomplished. I’ll keep it short and sweet, I promise!

Enjoy!

Noelle’s (Re-Re-Updated) List of Things to do before December 31, 2013:

1. Create a logo for the blog and go self-hosted.

Fail. That’s all.

2. Excel in my job.

I think for the most part, I do my job pretty darn well, but I’m still learning a lot… so I’ll call this one about 85%…..

3. Make 2013 a “Yes!” year/7. Be more present.

Yes. I killed this one.

5. Take more time to read.

Again, killed it.

4. Run a half marathon/6. Run 26.2 miles.

Half Marathon-I still haven’t raced it…but I’ve run it.

Marathon-Done.  So we’ll call this even.

8. Pay off at least one big bill–Get better about saving money.

Didn’t happen… 2013 was the year of random things that come up and shot our budget to Hades AND realizing that we really need an emergency fund.

2014 will be the year of actually having an emergency fund (We’re 75% of the way to our EF goal!) and being able to handle those budget killers.

On the plus side, I upped my 401k contribution and Farmer Ben started his retirement fund at work in 2013…so it wasn’t all bad!

9. Do 100 Burpees in a row.

Nope…. I can probably do about 30 without stopping…maybe 40 if I am feeling like a boss.

10. Do more food-ing.

Absolutely! Done.

Told you that it would be short and sweet… I’d say I did well… granted, I failed miserably at two of my goals…but I definitely learned something from most of these challenges. And of the few that I didn’t accomplish, we are better prepared for them this year.

2013 was a good year, but 2014 will be better… I’ve got big plans for this year and can’t wait to fill you in along the way!

Now it’s your turn! How did you do with your goals for 2013? Anything you’re still struggling with? OR, do you have any advice for 2014?! Let me know! 


Real Talk: Sworkit Review And {Giveaway-CLOSED}!

UPDATE: The winners of the giveaway are Liz, Vanessa, Jessica and Chelsea. Congratulations!  please contact me to claim your prize!!!

Hi Friends!

Hope you’re having a great week so far!

I’m super excited because I discovered a new fitness app.

If you’re anything like me, once the weather turns colder and the days get shorter, getting outside to workout is really difficult. Why? Because motivation disappears. I’d rather be reading a book, curled up under the blankets and wearing my giant XL sweats than venturing outside in a pair of running tights and a moisture-wicking base layer… and let’s be honest, I don’t have the cash for a gym membership right now.

For example, on Saturday, I planned on running. I really did… but it was my first REAL day off in I don’t even know how long and, well… I didn’t feel like doing a damn thing. I managed to venture out to drive the hubby to work, but then I went directly home, popped in a movie and got sucked into being a bum. I know I’m not the only one this happens to.

Anyway, it got to be 4:13 pm and I realized that my plan to get out and run was not going to happen as daylight was quickly fading (and can we talk about how windy it was?!). So, instead of putting on my reflective gear and head lamp, I searched for an alternative.

I found Sworkit.

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I downloaded the free version and opted for the 20 minute “anything goes” workout. Before I knew it, I was doing burpees, shoulder clap push-ups (excuse me?!), side planks, tricep dips and a variety of other exercises I probably wouldn’t have thought of doing on my own in that short of time. And I was so glad that I did them.

After m first Sworkit

After my first Sworkit

The great thing about this app is that it does the thinking for you. Each exercise is 30 seconds. If you need it, there is a short how-to video (I needed this for a couple of the exercises). 30 seconds of rest is also incorporated every few minutes. And if it a two-sided exercise (like a side plank), it will tell you when to switch sides. So, basically, you start the workout and let Sworkit do the thinking–and the counting–for you.

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It’s also easy to mix it up. You choose the workout length (anywhere from 5 to 60 minutes) what type of circuit you’d like to do (strength, cardio, yoga) and what areas you’d like to work (arms, legs, core, anything goes, boot camp, full body stretch, etc.). You can also customize workouts.

Here is an explanation directly from the Sworkit Website:

What is it?
Sworkit builds randomized circuit training workouts that you can do anywhere. You just choose which part of your body you want to work on and how long you have to work out, and Sworkit takes care of the rest. By providing an actual workout and taking you through the motions, you don’t have to do any other planning or have any extra equipment.
Why Sworkit?
We all have the desire to take care of ourselves and we know that we need fitness to stay healthy. But it’s easy to come up with excuses: “I don’t have the time”. “I don’t like gyms”. “I don’t want to buy new equipment”. “I get bored too easily”. “I travel for work”. “I don’t know where to start”. Sworkit is here to make sure that none of these excuses apply and we can all get a simple workout in whenever we want.
What’s with the randomization?
Workouts can be boring or they can be fun. The reason Sworkit employs randomization is to give the user a new experience every time they workout. This allows for more motivated sessions and provides excitement, and sometimes even pain. Pain is good.
Why circuit training?
Circuit training has been proven to provide highly efficient workouts at a fast pace. Sworkit allows you to choose the total amount of time you want to work out and provides you with the proper exercise timing, rest, and transitions.

Another plus? It syncs with myfitnesspal. I love love love this!

The Pro version has a few more options to choose from, saves your customized workouts and saves your stats (weight, daily/weekly goals, etc.).

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I downloaded the app on Saturday and have done a variety of workouts ranging from a few five minute workouts, to a 20 minute workout. I tried to mix it up to get a complete picture of what the app has to offer. And I was not disappointed. Each sworkit left me feeling accomplished. If I wasn’t sure how to do something, the how-to videos were short and sweet.

On Sunday I did three of the five-minute workouts. Last night, I did two of the ten-minute workouts. The possibilities are endless!

Post ab and back strength sworkits.

Post ab and back strength sworkits.

The most exciting part about finding this app? I can share it with you!

After my first sworkit, I tweeted about my experience and was very surprised to receive an email from the creator, Ryan. He informed me that there is even more customization coming out in December-I can’t wait to see what’s next!

He also thanked me for tweeting, AND gave me some codes to share for a free upgrade to the pro version!

How nice is that?!

So, after checking with Ryan,  I decided to share the free upgrade to Sworkit Pro with a few of you lucky readers. I have 4 Pro upgrades to give away!

Here’s How to Enter 

  • Check out the Sworkit Exercise List and leave me a comment, telling me which exercise listed is your favorite OR if there is one you’d like to be added.
  • In the same comment answer the following question: What is your biggest excuse for not exercising?

All comments must be received by Thursday, November 8 at 11:30 pm. Winners will be picked at random.

I will announce all 4 winners on Friday, November 9, 2013.

Sworkit is available for iphone and Android. Download via the App Store or Google Play.

  • As with any new workout, please consult a physician before starting a fitness regimen and be smart.
  • Disclaimer: I received a free upgrade to Sworkit Pro, HOWEVER I was not compensated to write this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.  

Scenes from the Pumpkin Prediction Race

Hi Friends! Sorry things have been a bit quiet around here lately…life has been hectic and I haven’t been on top of my blogging game.

But I have some exciting news to share!

A couple of weeks ago there was a little race in my town… it’s actually something they do all over the country, but this was the first year I participated.

It was called the Great Pumpkin Prediction Race… I absolutely love the concept. Basically, when you sign up, you have to guess what time you THINK you’re going to run the course in. Whoever gets the closest to their estimated time wins the race. And of course, it supports a local charity.

How cool is that?

I love it because, even if you aren’t the speedy kid, you can still win prizes.

Anyway, the race was held at the local civic center. The start and finish were indoors and then you ran either a short (about a 5k) or a long (about a 10k) course on some nearby trails.

This was one of the most organized local races I have been to. I was impressed. And the swag was awesome, but we’ll get to that later.

My friend Kristy and I signed up a few days before and decided to dress up.

I headed over to Kristy’s house a couple of hours before race time (we had pre-registered so we weren’t super worried about arriving early) and she got to work on doing my face.

She did an amazing job… 

Pre-Race

Pre-Race

But we weren’t paying attention to the time, so we ended up running late (no seriously, we were pinning on our numbers/signing our waivers when the gun went off!). Oops!

Anyway, we got ourselves situated and took off, sprinting after the group that had already started. Thank goodness I remembered to take my ENERGYbits!

It was cold and windy, especially being so close to the lake. I had neglected to ditch my sweatpants before we started running, but honestly, I was glad to have them on. It was drizzling out, but the rain held off until we finished, thank goodness! The course was relatively flat but interesting, we ran by the beach and even saw people on the lake! Crazies!

Kristy and I took it relatively easy, mostly because we both haven’t been running regularly, but it felt good to just run for fun and it was good to catch up and talk about random things (such as homemade laundry soap, facial toner, and all-natural makeup).

One of my co-workers happened to be taking photos that day, so he hooked me up with our finish photos. The last one is hilarious to me.  (Photos courtesy of Jeremy Miller)

Coming in....

Coming in….

Crossing the line

Crossing the line

Do you like how we kind of match?

Finish Photo... what's going on with my hand?!

Finish Photo… what’s going on with my hand?!

After we finished, we checked out our runner bags (a cloth Target shopping bag, black and red. I’ve been using it to carry my lunch/snacks ever since!). Inside was a pretty sweet t-shirt, a $10 gift certificate to Fleet Feet, a bottle of water, 6 raffle tickets to be used on our choice of raffle and a meal ticket. Yes, we got a meal, Subway, cookies and apples (it is the North Country after all). I’ve had worse.

Kristy and I meandered over to check out the raffles and our official finish time. We happened to notice that Kristy’s estimated time was wrong, so we let the race director know.

It’s a good thing we did because Kristy ended up winning the race! And guess who got second. This girl! Can I just say, I was ridiculously excited because I never win anything.

Post-race

Post-race

The prizes were awesome. Kristy won a pair of Merrell Trail Shoes (heck yes!) and I won a $25 gift card to Fleet Feet. In addition, we both got a pair of Vermont Darn Tough wool hiking socks and a $15 Road ID gift certificate. Awesome. Again, ridiculously excited because I never win anything!

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After we received our prizes, we stuck around to see if we’d have any luck on the raffles.

Good decision. I won a coffee gift basket from a local café. It had a 1/2 pound of locally roasted coffee beans, five $1 off coupons on any beverage, coffee mugs (Farmer Ben was super excited about adding these to our already full glass/mug cabinet) and a hazelnut syrup (which Farmer Ben and I have already disposed of because the first ingredient was corn syrup). Score!

So, I’d say we did pretty well considering we didn’t even make it to the start line on time. I’m definitely adding this to my (ever-growing) list of races for next year!

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All of the swag/prizes.

The best part about this little race? It gave me the bug. I’m anxious to fit in a few more races by the end of the year. This time of year is usually when I want to crawl into my XL sweatpants and hide under the covers until late spring…but I’m feeling motivated. I want to get out there and run!

Kristy and I are already planning on doing the 10k loop of the Turkey Trot this year and I am scoping out some end of the year half-marathons…. I’ll keep you posted!

Thanks to Kristy for doing the race with me! And thanks Jeremy, for the photos!

Happy Wednesday!

Best prize you’ve ever won at a race? Ever shown up late to a race? What did you do? Any end of the year races on your calendar? Which ones? Are you a winter runner or would you rather hibernate like me?!


“A List for the New Year,” an(other) Update.

Oh hey! It’s October 18, 2013.  I figured I owe you all a second update on how my 2013 To-Do list is going.

So, here you are! Enjoy!

Noelle’s (Re-Updated) List of Things to do before December 31, 2013:

1. Create a logo for the blog and go self-hosted.

Not gonna lie, STILL haven’t done this… however, I have gotten some ambassadorships that are pretty awesome and feel like I’m moving in the right direction. (you guys get 25% with my code for Energy Bits!)

I also finally broke down and got Twitter and Instagram… not that I know how to use them very well, but it’s all about networking, right? (usernames for both are NoellesNotebook if you’d like to give a follow!)

I’d love to know what you, readers, would like to see content wise…I realize that this space has morphed into a different animal from what I originally intended it to be… but I’m okay with that… however, I want to keep it interesting for all of you…so I’d love your feedback!

2. Excel in my job.

Confession: I struggle with this one.

I feel like my “promotion” has transformed into something else… my time is filled up with special projects that seem to take over what I’m actually supposed to be doing. And honestly, I have days (or months) where I just wonder how I am supposed to get everything done…  Does anyone else have this problem?

My boss tells me I’m doing well, but some days, I really have trouble believing that….but I just keep on going and I’m hoping that counts for something.

To be completely honest, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking on this particular aspect of my life, what’s to come of it, and what not.

3. Make 2013 a “Yes!” year/7. Be more present.

I’m killing this one.

  • Strides for James was amazing–we had over 200 participants and raised over $5,000 after expenses. We were able to reach our scholarship goal in less than a year and someone in our community is already benefitting from our group’s hard work.
  • Farmer Ben won tickets to a Red Sox game. We went and loved it.
  • The Hubby and I were in the bridal party/catered our friends’ wedding. Not gonna lie, it was exhausting but worth it.
  • We got to do some hiking this summer! I cannot tell you how happy this made me!
  • Just starting a new online class today.
  • Farmer Ben and I just returned from a kick-ass road-trip and are craving more adventures. We drove to St. Simons Island, Georgia, then headed up to Charleston, South Carolina. I am ready to move there!
  • On our road-trip, we ate Barbecue for 3 days. I’m not even a little ashamed.
  • Ben finally got to meet my good friend Natasha who lives in DC and we visited (and by visited, I mean had a couple of drinks and crashed on her floor before getting up ridiculously early and hitting the road again) Liz–FINALLY! I even got to show him my old apartment.
  • Also on our trip, we spent the night on a sail boat-a first for me!
  • I also ran my first marathon.
  • Spent more time with family
Catamount Mountain, August 2013

Catamount Mountain, August 2013

I think those are all of the big ones, but honestly, I feel so blessed this year with all of the adventures we’ve had and I am wondering what’s next!

As far as spending less time on my phone, I’ve absolutely cut down on this. I deactivated my Facebook account and haven’t looked back. I may re-activate it when I get back into the heart of planning Strides for James 2014… but for now, I am content to be in the dark about what that girl who was in my gen ed class, freshman year is doing. I’m learning to appreciate those around me and treasuring the time with people I don’t see every day.

Any suggestions to continue my “Yes” Year?!

5. Take more time to read.

Yes. Doing this.

I won’t bore with the entire list, but these are my favorites I’ve read this year (Not gonna lie, it looks almost exactly like the list in my last update):

  • My Bible
  • all three Hunger Games Books (twice)
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • The Girl Who Played with Fire
  • Garlic and Sapphires
  • The Girl Who Kicked a Hornet’s Nest
  • The Great Gatsby
  • Pride and Prejudice
  • Born to Run
  • Eat & Run
  • The Dirty Life
  • The Beautiful & Damned

Any other reading suggestions?

4. Run a half marathon/6. Run 26.2 miles.

Half Marathon-I’ve run the distance but haven’t raced it. Can we call this one even? I may look for a race in the next month or two… just to check it off the list, but I won’t be heartbroken if I don’t get that race in.

Marathon-Done. One of the most difficult and worthwhile things I have ever accomplished… and I’m already planning to do another!

I did it!

I did it!

8. Pay off at least one big bill–Get better about saving money.

I’m getting closer.

9. Do 100 Burpees in a row.

I still haven’t been working on my burpees.

10. Do more food-ing.

Absolutely!

I definitely went on a vegan recipe kick after reading Eat & Run. I’ve also been experimenting more with using different ingredients, especially when I was training for the marathon, I had to get creative with pre/during race foods because of some digestion issues.

We’ve also made an effort to eat at home more this year…and when we traveling, we try to eat at a local restaurant.

Roasted beets, cukes, lettuce, beet greens, tomatoes, carrots and homemade horseradish avocado dressing.

Roasted beets, cukes, lettuce, beet greens, tomatoes, carrots and homemade horseradish avocado dressing.

So, there you have it. I’d say for the most part, I’m doing pretty well…I definitely see areas where I can improve, but I am happy for now.

Now it’s your turn! How are you doing with your goals? Anything you’re struggling with? OR, do you have any advice to help me out?! Let me know! 


Confessions: Words with a Kooky Doctor

As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, I finally gave in and went to the doctor to see about my weird leg pain…

I don’t have a primary care doctor, so I did a walk-in right after work because I couldn’t get an appointment and ended up getting a full physical because I hadn’t had one in… I don’t even know how long. Shame on me.

Confession: Between work and our road-trip, I still haven’t gone to get the blood work he ordered… hopefully tomorrow? Double shame.

Anyway, while I was there, I quickly realized he had no idea what was wrong with my leg and that he wasn’t going to be much help in that department… he even told me so… but I figured I’d get the most bang for my buck and went on with the rest of the physical.

I mentioned that I had run a marathon and we talked about some health concerns (mostly that I am prone to some wicked headaches/dizziness).

His response? “Well, you’re obviously very healthy. You’ve run a marathon, the proof is in the pudding!” He continued with, “I don’t know what to tell you about the headaches other than they probably aren’t anything to be concerned with, it’s just an annoyance.”

He then asked me about medical history and asked me if I had any symptoms of depression…three times.

First, who says “the proof is in the pudding?”

Apparently, there is proof here.

Apparently, there is proof here (Source: finecooking.com).

Second, Yes– while running a marathon is a good sign of one being healthy, I don’t feel that it is an end-all, absolute indication of one’s physical health being perfect. Not that I have any major health concerns, but I was irked by his assumption and brushing off the one concern I did have…and repeatedly asking if I was depressed… it just didn’t sit well.

Anyway, the rest of the visit was equally enlightening. I discussed BMI with him next…

Side note: When I last saw my gynecologist, she was impressed that I had lost the weight that I have and that I did so slowly… but said it would be beneficial to lose about 15-25 more pounds. I feel like that’s kind of standard coming from a doctor and for all I know, she could be right. Honestly, I would be okay with 10 more pounds.

My current BMI is 28, so I am technically classified as overweight. Now, I realize that this is merely a guideline and even when I was in the best shape of my life, my BMI was close to what it is now.

I also realize that I AM healthy, but, I figured since I was there, I would ask his professional opinion… he is a doctor, after all.

I felt a bit silly asking, but I got it out, “you know, I’m just wondering because my BMI is a bit high… if it’s something I should worry about… I’ve lost about 30 lbs but it’s taken me a really LONG time to do so… and I know that’s a good thing, but at the same time, I don’t know if it’s normal for it to take as long as it did… I’m just wondering–“

He interrupted me (!) and even raised his voice for a moment.

“–You DO NOT need to lose ANY weight. You are perfectly healthy, you ran a marathon, so you’re obviously healthy. But, if you want to lose weight for physical attractiveness, or competitiveness, or whatever reason, the only way to do that is to eat way less and make yourself completely miserable. So if that’s what you want, then by all means, make yourself miserable.”

Cue my jaw hitting the floor.

That was not what I was expecting to hear and I was, for one of the few times in my life, completely speechless. Not gonna lie, it was nice to hear this, but I think he completely misunderstood my reason for asking the question.

I mentioned that my main concern with my current weight is the impact it has on my joints when running and that I know losing said 10+ pounds will be easier on my body, which he quickly dismissed by saying, “Not true.”

He went on to say how the only way to eat less is to know exactly how much you’re taking in and the only way to do that was to count calories (obviously) and then proceeded to tell me it didn’t matter what I ate or where my food was coming from, it only mattered the amount I was eating.

You can imagine my indignation at the last statement. This was a doctor telling me that nutrition value and where food comes from didn’t matter. I almost hit the roof.

Apparently eating things like this doesn't matter... Grrrr

Apparently eating things like this doesn’t matter… Grrrr

In short, the proof is apparently in the pudding; I am perfectly healthy.

Some Updates:

  • My leg seems to have healed itself and I went on my first run post-race last night. It was only 2.5 miles, but I had no pain. Let’s hope it stays that way.
  • I’m currently experimenting with my diet to see if something I’m eating/drinking is causing the headaches.
  • First experiment: cutting down my coffee intake.
  • Next step: getting the blood work done so I can get an official letter saying that I am “perfectly healthy,” and I can move on to finding a primary care doctor who I don’t find kooky.
  • I’m also going to get my eyes checked to see if the headaches are vision related. I am getting older, after all.

Let’s discuss, what’s the strangest/most outrageous thing a medical professional has said to you? BMI-do you pay attention to it? Any weird ailments? When’s the last time you went for a physical?


Finding a Balance: Burgers and Big Workouts

Hi Friends!

Farmer Ben and I are back from our road trip/vacation down south! Can I tell you a secret? I don’t think I’ve ever eaten so much barbecue in my life…I loved every morsel…but I must admit, it is good to be home, sleeping in our own bed and cooking at home. I’ll do a full post on that later…

I need to get something off my chest.

I was perusing instagram the other day and came across a photo of a giant cheeseburger with French fries. To put you in the right frame of mind, the burger was similar to this one, minus the braised kale:

Pictures like this speak to me.

Pictures like this speak to me.

Anyway, my immediate thoughts? “Oh my, that looks delicious!”

Obviously, I was drawn to it and stopped to read the caption and comments.

I won’t tell you who the user was but the caption was something along the lines of “Yes, I ate this…trying to tell myself that my ridiculously long, strenuous workout makes it okay.”

Cue screeching record sound… What?! 

I’m sorry… but that is ridiculous.

Why do you have to do a ridiculously long and strenuous workout in order to justify eating a cheeseburger and fries? Why do you have to burn a million calories in order to enjoy it? Or, make a vow to run a million miles the next day? Why can’t you just eat it and say, “man, that was delicious,” without feeling guilty?

Now, don’t misunderstand me. I am in no way saying that you should go out and only eat cheeseburgers and fries (or whatever your guilty pleasure of choice may be), obviously.

Not at all… but if you eat well most of the time, and yes, if you do ridiculously long and strenuous workouts more often than not (as this person does), then what the heck? Eat a damn cheeseburger!

Occasionally enjoying an “unhealthy” meal is not going to “ruin all of your hard work,” and it’s not going to make you gain 20 pounds or ruin your diet/workout regimen. Depending on the burger and your digestive system, you may be a bit bloated or gassy after…but it’s not going to ruin your overall health plan. It’s about balance, people!

I guess what I found most disturbing was the user who posted this picture. You are a role model in a healthy living community. That is not a healthy state of mind…and it’s a common theme I am finding as I peruse my instagram and twitter feeds of bloggers/people who claim to have a healthy lifestyle…people I look up to!

People would rather drink a protein shake or eat an energy bar full of artificial sweeteners and ingredients they can’t pronounce, than enjoy real, whole foods that happen to be calorie dense. I see more protein shakes with a side of celery or a few apple slices  than real, balanced meals on my feed. WHY?!

When did we get so far away from balance…and eating real food?

Again, I am NOT saying that a cheeseburger and fries is “healthy meal,” nor am I saying that all protein shakes/energy bars are bad…not at all!

I’m just saying, everything in moderation.

Neither of these options is going to completely nourish/sustain a person, especially a highly active person.

Balance is necessary.

When you start looking at food as the enemy or depriving yourself…or even trying to justify what you are eating with ridiculously long and strenuous workouts, then there is a problem…and this I am saying from personal experience.  On the same note, you also can’t look to food for comfort/stress relief…again, it’s about balance.

I am in no way perfect, and I am totally guilty of having that small voice in my head saying, “are you sure you want to eat that? Do you know how many calories are in it?!”

But, I’ve come to appreciate balance and I’ve finally learned the “everything in moderation” principle…Yes, I watch what I eat…but I don’t completely deprive myself and I don’t freak out after eating a burger. I’m no expert, but I think I’m a lot healthier now because of this.

Thanks for letting me ramble.

So tell me, what are your thoughts? Cheeseburgers, yes or no? Are you guilty of trying to justify your meals with workouts?  Favorite food to drool over on Instagram?


GBN: That time I ran a marathon

Well, I did it.

It was one of the most difficult, amazing, ridiculous, painful and spiritual things I have ever done, but I did it. I finished a marathon.

On Saturday morning (after a quick stop for breakfast), my mom and I headed the hour south to go to the race expo. After picking up my packet and sweet (and by sweet, I mean BRIGHT orange) half-zip windbreaker, we meandered around the gym, visiting with volunteers and looking at what the vendors had to offer. Note: They had my mizunos for significantly less than I paid for them, but I restrained myself from buying a new pair–Farmer Ben was so proud.

This was probably the smallest race expo I’ve ever been to, but it was really nice because we weren’t fighting a crowd and didn’t feel rushed to get in and out.

After the expo, my mom and I decided to scope out the course. We took the leisurely 26.2 mile drive around Schroon Lake. My mom’s reaction? “This is beautiful,” followed by, “You’re going to run this?!”

I knew the hills were going to be tough, but now, at least, I had a point of reference and would have an idea of what was ahead. We started out on the main drag, turned onto a side road that just kept going up and then came out right next to the lake, then, we went back to Route 9….

Here are some pictures from the drive:

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Beautiful, isn’t it?

Saturday night, Farmer Ben and I stayed in and watched Ratatouille, complete with a big bowl of pasta and marinara sauce.  After laying out all of my clothes and fuel for the day, I showered and went to bed… but I’m sure you already know that I barely slept.

I woke up on Sunday morning, a big ball of nerves, complete with a nervous stomach. I toasted two English muffins and put a smear of peanut butter on each and grabbed a banana to eat on the drive down (it’s about an hour and a half from our house). Unfortunately, I was so nervous that I could barely swallow… I only managed to choke down the first English muffin and most of the banana.

After parking, I immediately found the bathroom. Then we had some time to kill, so we meandered around; Ben got a coffee, we went back to the car so I could drop off what I didn’t need and grabbed my fuel belt, put on my number and did a last check…then I found the bathroom again…

I don’t know if it was the realization that I was actually about to run a marathon, or if it was just nerves (or maybe a combination of both), but I was a complete basket case on Sunday morning…at one point, I was holding back tears and was starting to have some serious doubts about running…. luckily Farmer Ben was there to hold my hand and talk me down.

He told me that once I started running, I would get into the zone and be fine…and he was right…

I managed to get a pretty good spot on the starting line and started off at a relatively quick pace…when we passed the first time clock, I realized I was going way too fast (even though it felt comfortable) and slowed down.

I was still going a little faster than I should have, but I was feeling good.

At mile 4, the hills started. Now, the elevation chart shows a straight up-hill until mile 6, then a straight down-hill…and then some little hills in between miles 7 and 11 (the next giant hill). This was not the case.

Instead, you went up, then flat, then up, then flat, then up, then down, then flat, then up and up and so on and so forth… I looked at my splits on mapmyrun this morning and they are all over the place…. I managed to run all of the hills until mile 11…I decided to sacrifice running up this hill in order to save my strength for the rest of the run, looking back, I definitely made the right decision.

I was feeling really good for the first half, once you hit mile 12, you come out right next to the lake…it was a beautiful day and the sun shining, but after running so many hills and being super sweaty, the breeze from the lake was not pleasant… the last half of the race was very cold.

I got to the halfway (13.1miles)mark at 2 hours and 27 minutes… I kept a steady pace until about mile 16. I was getting tired. I slowed down a bit and took a few short walk breaks.

Throughout the entire race, I was repeating three things.

1. Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

2. Run your own race.

3. (Wo)man can plan their course, but the LORD directs their steps. (Proverbs 16:9)

At mile 18, we turned onto the Word of Life Campus and were welcomed by a wall of cheering people on either side (Note: I could hear their cheers all the back at mile 16, I could NOT figure out where it was coming from).

This gave my spirits the boost I needed to keep going… people were yelling for me, cheering me on, playing music, calling my number and my name…

Not gonna lie, I almost cried because I was so happy…so grateful for these beautiful people who were helping me go on.

Actually, I almost cried a few times throughout the run because of the volunteers and the spectators… everyone who came out and watched the race, supported the runners… it was an emotional day. Hearing people call my name, who took the time to look up my bib number and find out my name, I was completely overwhelmed.

I made it to mile 20, still riding on the cheers of that amazing group… but then I started to hit the wall… I hurt. Everywhere. My feet were the worst, every time I took a step, I felt like a thousand knives were being pushed into my feet, my bones felt like they were shattering… but I kept going.

My hands swelled up to twice their normal size and I could barely bend them, my wedding ring was starting to dig. I was covered in salt from my sweat and my under-arms were raw…not to mention, the pain in my feet and legs was getting worse.

Luckily, there was a girl running near me and we ended up duking out the last 6.2 miles together…slowly but surely. We ended up doing a lot of power walking for that last 10k…at that point, running was so painful that power walking was a faster mode of transportation… we did the power-walk/run together and I told her I was glad we ended up together because we kept each other going.

There were two more hills (though, I must admit, they were not even close to the hills between miles 4 and 12) before we finally neared the finish… we came around a big corner and realized we were less than a mile away.

I looked at my new friend (Liz) and said, “come on, let’s go!” We started kicking it to the finish…I managed to look up just in time to see Farmer Ben standing there with a big smile on his face, iPhone ready to take pictures and yelling my name.

You can't tell from this photo, but I am incredibly happy at this moment

You can’t tell from this photo, but I am incredibly happy at this moment

I turned onto the side street and pushed it to the finish, my entire being hurting and fighting to make those last steps…. I made it!

My time was 5:24:37…not the best time, but it’s a PR for me (the perks of it being my first marathon)…and this was a crazy difficult course! I’m just happy I finished….and now I have a time to beat.

I got my medal and my thermal blanket (thank God!) and turned around, waiting for Liz. I hi-fived her and thanked her sticking with me… and then Ben and I took a couple more pictures….

I did it!

I did it!

I would not have been able to do this without my amazing husband.

I would not have been able to do this without my amazing husband.

After finishing, we went down to the finishers’ area and I managed to get a bagel, a bottle of water and some grapes…unfortunately, my body and brain were on power-save mode at that point…I tried to walk around for a few minutes, but ended up just sitting down in a chair, staring off into space. Ben had to hand me grapes and small bites of bagel in order to get me to eat anything.

Again, I had to hold back tears…the realization that I had just finished a marathon was heavy. My body and soul felt absolutely empty.

All finishers were entitled to a massage, but I worried if I got one, I wouldn’t be able to get up, so, when my lips starting turning blue from the wind, Ben made the decision and helped me hobble back to the car.

In the warmth of the Versa, my brain starting working again, slowly but surely.

In my post-race fog, I knew that I needed to change out of my sweaty, and consequently, soaking wet clothes. I told Ben “I need your help.”

I pushed my seat all the way back and Ben fumbled around in the back seat for my big comfy sweat pants and long-sleeved shirt… I painstakingly started pulling off clothes, not caring if someone happened to walk by.

I started with my sneakers, then my socks. I don’t think my feet have ever hurt so much in my entire life. Then I pulled off my leggings and my underwear. I slowly pulled on my sweat pants, with Ben’s help, really glad I had gone for the XL pair.

The next part was a lot more difficult. my shirt was soaking wet and my skin under my arms was raw (Note: I used Body Glide, but apparently I didn’t use enough under my arms). I managed to pull the sleeves from my tank top down and held my shirt over my chest (I am a lady, after all!) while Ben helped me pull my sports bra off, one side at a time. After I pulled on my long-sleeved shirt, I ditched the tank top.

We debated going to one of the restaurants in Schroon Lake, but everyone else had the same idea, so we headed home. I could not get comfortable and spent the entire trip putting my seat up and down, moving it back, propping my feet on the dash, and stretching them out on the floor… then I passed out for the last 30 minutes of the trip.

Upon reaching our apartment, I realized that I was going to have to climb the stairs in order to get inside. My heart sank. Luckily, Ben took everything in from the car so I could use both arms to pull myself up.

After sitting with my feet propped up for an hour or so, we got an invitation to go to a friend’s house and visit with them and their family. Ben whipped up a quick dish to bring with us and I took a hot shower. I cannot even begin to describe how good it felt.

I conquered going down stairs, slowly but surely. And we got to our friend’s house for a great night of relaxing, good food (a lot of it!) and good times. It was the perfect way to end a monumental day. I finally had the energy to snap a picture of my sweet medal….

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I’m so blessed I have the ability to run, that I was able to finish a marathon. I still get teary-eyed remembering different parts of the course, how I was feeling, the spectators and the volunteers… It was amazing and something I will cherish forever. It tested my faith, my mind and my body, but I survived…and came out stronger (and somewhat chafed).

Today, I’m sore…I hobbled around the office at work all day and am looking forward to a week of rest… but, I wouldn’t mind doing another marathon sometime in the (sort of near) future. I’ve already scoped out a few races… as a 14-time marathoner that I befriended yesterday told me, “you definitely picked a difficult course, your next race can only be easier.”

Before I end this post….

A major thank you to Farmer Ben. You are the world’s greatest husband. The end.

And to my friends, Jona and Kristy. You are both such strong, amazing women and hearing/reading your running journeys continues to inspire me and helps me to keep pushing in mine.

Also, thank you to my other friends and family who have had to deal with my ridiculous schedule, constantly listening to me talk about my training and just being supportive.

Did you race this weekend? What is your best race moment/memory? What’s the worst thing about post-race recovery?


Confessions: Life & GBN (Marathon Training Update)

Hi friends!

September is flying by!

I realize it’s been a while since I’ve done a “Confessions” post… so here we go.

You may have noticed some new widgets on my sidebar:

Sweat Pink

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Loved coming home to this package!

I am super excited to announce that I am a Sweat Pink Ambassador, pink shoelaces and all!

For more info, click the image on the sidebar or check out the Fit Approach website.

Here is the Sweat Pink Mission, from the Fit Approach website:

We believe that kicking ass is best done in pretty shoes. We’ve learned that real women sweat, and sweat hard. We know that assertiveness, strength, and ambition are the ultimate feminine qualities. We concede that sometimes it takes hours to get ready, but we’re also no strangers to just rolling out of bed and going. We’re convinced that we run faster in pink shoelaces. We believe in pushing ourselves, and we believe in giving ourselves a break, too. We’re all about the rush of endorphins and the thrill of the challenge. We’re all for looking great and feeling even better. We’re committed to finding our best fit, and making it stick. We sweat pink.

Pretty awesome, right? I am pumped to be a part of this community!

ENERGYbits

I’ve mentioned ENERGYbits and how they have become part of my fuel for marathon training and life in general. They are an amazing company and doing great things….and I am so happy to be a part of it. The best part is  that I can share a sweet discount with all of you (Use the code “NoellesNotebook” at checkout for 25% off!)! Also, if you’re interested in trying a sample, contact me and I can hook you up!

Officially an ENERGYbits Ambassador!

Officially an ENERGYbits Ambassador!

In other news, marathon training is coming to a close…less than 2 weeks until race day. I have to admit, I am sort of enjoying the taper, but my body is a bit confused.

I bonked a bit on my 20 mile run and had a minor freak-out about being ready…

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After a soggy 20 mile run…probably the most difficult run I’ve done in a long time

After I calmed down from my freak-out, I analyzed what went wrong… I think a big part of my bonk was my food choices from the couple of days before my run, not drinking enough and the weather. It was hot. Really hot. And humid….and raining.

So what am I using for fuel?

I have decided on ENERGYbits (of course!), Island Boost–another great company–and various fruit. This will depend on what I can fit in my running belt…

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I was going back and forth as to whether or not I should wear my camelbak on race day, but I decided against it. There will be water stops on the course and honestly, the camelbak is a lot of extra weight and extra sweat. It’s great for training runs, but I don’t want to worry about it on race day.

Thoughts on Marathon training:

Next time around (yes, I’m already thinking about next time! Let’s just get through the first one, shall we?!), I am only going to be working one job…and won’t be involved in as many real life commitments. Life happens. I got way too stressed out with training this time around because honestly, I skipped a lot of runs. Between trying to prevent/having an injury and just being over-extended, some days it felt impossible to fit in a run. I realize that there are people out there who do way more than I do (and I give them MAJOR props), but this time around, I had to make some sacrifices, and some weeks, it was my training runs.

I have a good friend (Hi Kristy!) who gave me some peace of mind a while back. She said that as long as you get your long runs in, it’s okay to skip some of your runs during the week.

Now, I am NOT in any way saying that you shouldn’t train for a marathon, because that would be moronic. But, sometimes life happens and things come up. And that’s okay, as long as you get back on track.

She also reminded me that as this will be my first marathon, I am going to PR. No matter my time, it’s going to be a personal record. Doesn’t that take a lot of the pressure off?

Again, I’m not saying that I won’t go out there and try and run my hardest, but…if I have to walk for a bit, I am still doing 26.2 miles in one shot. That’s still pretty hard-core.

With that being said, I’ve been having some really great runs lately. During and after each run, I have felt unstoppable…isn’t that the best feeling?!

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After totally rocking an 8 mile run.

Also, I purchased a foam roller ($15 at TJ Maxx for the win!) about a month ago… such a good investment! Luckily, Farmer Ben loves to torture… I mean take care of me and has been super helpful with working out the kinks in my legs. My recovery time has decreased significantly as a result…so thanks Farmer Ben!

On a totally unrelated topic, marathon training does a number on my digestive system. I’ll leave it at that.

Oh! I almost forgot, I need your help! I am deciding on whether to run with or without some tunage.

If I do run with music, I need to create a killin’ it playlist. What would be on your kicking butt soundtrack?!

In remembrance:

Today, 12 years have passed from that fateful day. I still remember exactly what I was doing when I heard the news. I think about how much our nation–and our world–has grown and changed, and I pay a moment of silence and remembrance to the past and those who were lost.

Anyway, those are my musings for today.

What about you?! What do you use for fuel during your long runs/race day? Any advice for a first time marathoner? What is on your killin’ it playlist?!